The holiday season is my favorite. I get sentimental, reach out to old friends, and constantly think about how I’ve spent the past ten Decembers. Every year is different, and I really do love that.
This reflection tends to lead me to a reflection of the past year. 2016 has been rough. I thought it was going to be this great year. Find the perfect job and apartment in the perfect city with a guy that’s perfect for me. Well I’m still living with Matt, we’re incredibly happy and our apartment’s really nice (but ya know we’re thinking of moving)
In reality this year has been made up of hundreds of job applications, tears, laughs, and moments where I’m about a centimeter away from being pushed over what I thought was my ledge. There have been so many times where I thought I had reached my limit, where I thought how much more could I possibly take? How many more rejections, fights, and unclear relationships would I take before breaking down?
Well the answer is much more than I thought.
Have you thought “Okay this is when I’m going to catch a break. This is going to be my big moment, my hallelujah chorus, light streaming down from the heaven, hometown hero moment.” I thought I was going to have one of those when I got a great position in September.
But along came another really hard lesson, what I thought I wanted wasn’t actually what I wanted. This big opportunity made me question my abilities, my career path, and even myself.
I sucked it up, after my family and friends were real troopers and told me everything was going to be okay. I got sick of constantly being a debbie downer when talking with my friends and family on the phone so I looked on the bright-side. I then doubled-down on my job search and tried to give myself a light at the end of the tunnel.
This moment sucked to be honest.
I really didn’t want to keep going to work, but knew that I had to. We needed the money and I’m not one for living off my significant other. I didn’t want to give up on something just because it was hard or because I really didn’t like it. Mama (and Dad) didn’t raise a quitter.
Let me tell you that I use the internet to google stuff all the time. I google stuff to see if anyone else in the world is going through what I am. I google stuff to see if I can figure it out without asking my fiance for help. If you saw my Google search history, all of you would be like “What in God’s name do you think of during the day?”
Guess what? There was no answer on the internet for this problem. I was lacking series self-confidence and felt ashamed that my life isn’t what I thought it was going to be. I was a little relieved we weren’t going home for Thanksgiving so I didn’t have to talk to friends and family about my job, because I thought that I should be further along than I was.
I was ashamed to talk to my fiance’s friends about what I was doing, because most of them are incredibly successful for our age.
But guess what? Literally nobody cares. I was the only one who was thinking that because people aren’t focused on my job, they’re focused on my personality and generally my “funny” stories of embarrassing things that I do daily.
Then I started to rationalize as to why I hadn’t gotten a permanent job yet in my field.
Was it because I had gotten into a big fight with one of my best friends from college? Was it because I spent the first half of my year trying to figure out if my path was what I actually wanted? Was it I didn’t pray enough or donate enough or ate healthy enough?
I spent a whole crap-load of time feeling sorry for myself and trying to be the perfect person. Well news-flash Ashley, there’s no such thing. Then I was like “maybe other parts of my life are going too well so this part of my life can’t go well either.” Yeah that was really stupid too.
So basically this long winded post is about the fact that sometimes you just have to wait for it to happen. You can make things happen, but sometimes there are so many lessons waiting for you in the “in-between.”
Here’s what I’ve learned in my “in-between”
-I love to write. I miss writing and I’m hoping my job will include writing. If it doesn’t, thank god for my blog.
-Matt and I have a strong partnership. He’s held me up during this time and I’ve held him up. With him I’m pretty sure I can do anything. It’s also taught me I won’t ever settle for anything less again because I deserve a partner like that. Also, I encourage my friends and family to never settle for anything less either in a life partner.
-My girlfriends are actual gold. Without their support I don’t know what I would do. Having friends that you can rely on through thick and thin is so important. Matt is wonderful and amazing, but if we hadn’t gotten back together I’d still be great because I have my girlfriends.
– You have got to get out of your comfort zone. When I’m scared I tend to hole up in my comfort zone and not move. But holy crap do I need to stop. I’m never going to grow if I don’t go make new friends, join new groups or try new skills. That’s my goal for 2017, is to really put down roots here in Boston.
– Patience, hard work, and persistence will get you through. So as of right now I don’t have anything to prove this theory, but it’s what is getting me through. Having patience with the process, working hard and not stopping until you get what you want is so important. You never know when an email or phone call is going to come. So keep working, (even if your job isn’t what you want), keep applying for jobs, keep working on your side hustle and keep believing in yourself. It’s going to come, trust me.
-Family is everything. Calling my family makes me feel so much better about myself, and they know exactly how far I’ve come. I say this a lot, but your family relationships are what you make of them. So call your mom more than once a month, call you grandma and start to really get to know your in-laws (if you have any).
-You have to embrace the now. My job isn’t perfect, but it’s giving me to ability to get my foot in the door, plan my wedding, and focus on my blog. I have time to spend with Matt as we learn how to live together.
-No one’s life is perfect. That blogger who’s insta is amazing and blog seems perfect? There’s something going on there. Your high school acquaintance who is living in a different country and has a dream job? They could have gone through some rough stuff to get there. We’re all human, our lives ebb and flow. Friends from home think that life is really glamorous out in Boston, and it really isn’t. I am blessed to be living here but it doesn’t make my life automatically all that much better.
-Since there’s not instruction manual, there’s not a wrong way to do something. Remember when you graduated college and you were like “so what now?” YOU CAN DO WHAT EVER YOU WANT. You can travel the world, you can go to work. You can get married young or old, you can make a billion dollars or just make enough to have fun. NO ONE REALLY CARES. Just be a decent human being and you’re doing life right. That’s all. It’s scary because there isn’t a clear cut way to go, and uncertainity can be sscary. But you can make your own plan, so own it!
– Someone else doing well does not mean you won’t. Let me repeat that. Someone else doing well does not mean you won’t. Celebrate other people, celebrate your people, celebrate that random sorority sister on Facebook because life is short and celebrating is fun.
The struggle may be just what you need.
This year has been hard, and as of right now there isn’t necessarily this great light at the end of the tunnel. But you know what? I think this struggle is what I needed. I believe that this has taught me to be a little less selfish, to care a whole lot less what other people think, and exactly who’s going to pick up my phone call when I’m crying in my bed.
Whew. That was long. It’s been sitting on my chest, and I wanted other people to know that you’re not alone. That life is not linear and that’s honestly the beauty of. Thanks for sticking with me.
I believe in you. I believe in your struggle, and I believe that you’re going to be happy with your life.
Please let me know what you’re working on, what you’re struggling with, and what you’re celebrating in the comments!
PS Do we hate these posts? Or love them? Are they too long? Thanks for hanging in there, I love all of you!